Article: The Girl with the Big Hair
The Girl with the Big Hair
Curly hair is not just a look. It’s a way of life. One that’s full of as many twists and turns as those beautiful tresses themselves. Nobody gets this more than Shedid & Parrish’s founder, Jessica. She’s lived the confusion that comes with it and is ready to help others transform their own experiences into the confidence they need to embrace rather than conquer their curls once and for all.
‘The girl with the big hair.’ The label that’s defined me for four decades. A label I’ve loved and loathed. And now one I want to share with the world.Like every curly girl, my childhood memories are dominated by hair. From the daily standoff with the hairbrush (the curls always won) to DIY disasters, every morning was eventful in the Parrish household. To say my parents didn’t know what to do with my unruly mane is an understatement! But, how would they? They were English & Canadian with soft management hair and I was their adopted Sudanese-Italian-Chadian-French baby (although, as it turns out it should have actually been Sudanese-Italian-Congolese-Belgian baby but that’s another story…). Either way, it meant that my family didn’t have a clue what to do with my explosion of hair. So, they did the only thing they could – they cut it off.
By 15, I’d had enough of the bodged chops and decided to take on my tresses myself. I mean, how hard could growing out hair really be? Oh, how little I knew! People often talk about that ‘awkward stage’ of hair growth. For straighties, this might mean tucking your hair behind your ears for a few weeks. But for us curlies, you’re talking years of unmanageable mayhem. So, there I was. An awkward teenager that looked nothing like her family or friends and with no idea where to go for advice. Not great for your self-esteem!
Things changed when I started college. I was now wearing a full head of curls with pride and had a new found appreciation for the diverse society we live in. I thrived off meeting people from different backgrounds, all of whom had their own stories of belonging to tell. It was this that helped me to not only accept but embrace the fact that being ‘the girl with big hair’ made me different. Unique.
But being unique comes with a price, something I soon discovered as I struggled to find products that suited my specific texture. Having neither straight or afro hair, I found myself in a curly conundrum. None of the lotions and potions claiming to be the ‘go to’ for curls did the trick. And when I say I tried everything. I mean everything. (In case you’ve ever wondered, Vaseline as a hair gel isn’t a good look!). But that was nothing compared to trying to find a salon willing to take on my curls! More than one stylist has tried to hide in the back when they’ve seen me walk in.
I guess for a period of time I came to accept that having curls was just ‘difficult.’ But through conversations with a friend who was on her own natural hair journey at the time, I learnt that it wasn’t just difficult but damaging too. Not the curls themselves of course but the chemical laden products designed for them. That’s when I decided enough was enough. Why should I have to choose between using products that completely strip my hair of its natural oils and not being able to style my hair at all?
And so, Shedid & Parrish was born. A 100% natural hair product brand for anyone and everyone with curls, kinks, coils and everything in-between using only the best ethically sourced ingredients. Products that make you look good, feel good and keep your hair healthy at the same time.
My aim was to find solutions to the multitude of problems I encountered on my own hair journey. Nearly every decision I’ve made along the way is a reflection of experiences that I hope will resonate with others. Our products are scent free because I understand how annoying it is when your sense of smell is overpowered by the scent of your hair. Aside from wanting to be as ethical as possible, we’re 100% vegan because I know what it’s like to feel excluded and I want our products to be 100% inclusive as well as 100% natural.
Shedid and Parrish doesn’t do labels. As someone who has never fitted neatly into any kind of category myself, I’m passionate about providing a safe and nurturing space for curlies of all genders, races and ages. The brand name itself is a combination of the names of both my adoptive and birth parents as it simply wouldn’t exist without the nature and nurture that’s come from both.
Shedid & Parrish is not just a product range either. It’s a community. One which is here to educate, support and empower you to wear your curls your way. And one that I will grow (how does being able to access curl specialists on the high-street sound?)
I especially want to make sure children have what I missed out on – parents who have the knowledge and understanding to enable their little ones to wear those natural crowns like the kings and queens that they are. This is why I’ve chosen the Children’s society as our partner charity. It’s an honor to support all the wonderful work they do building the self-esteem of vulnerable young people.
Shedid & Parrish stands for self-love and confidence. A celebration of curls in all their wild and natural glory and I welcome you to be part of it. From ‘the girl with big hair’ to ‘the family of big hair.’ One world; United by curls.